Acta Analytica

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 41–73

Retracing our steps: Fodor’s new old way with concept acquisition

  • John Sarnecki
Language And Mind


The acquisition of concepts has proven especially difficult for philosophers and psychologists to explain. In this paper, I examine Jerry Fodor’s most recent attempt to explain the acquisition of concepts relative to experiences of their referents. In reevaluating his earlier position, Fodor attempts to co-opt informational semantics into an account of concept acquisition that avoids the radical nativism of his earlier views. I argue that Fodor’s attempts ultimately fail to be persuasive. He must either accept his earlier nativism or adopt a rational causal model of concept acquisition. His animus towards the latter dictates, in my view, a return to the nativism with which he began.


concepts concept acquisition Fodor nativism representation intentional explanation 


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Copyright information

© Transaction Publishers 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Sarnecki
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe University of Toledo—MS 510ToledoUSA

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